Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 12 October 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
12 October 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Embracing variability: The adaptive capacity of aquatic ecosystems

Prof Kevin McCann

Photo by David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes

We are delighted to welcome Professor Kevin McCann, Professor at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph (Canada), to start our Biosciences Autumn Seminar Series. Kevin started as a mathematician but then went back to University to train into how to apply mathematics to ecology, which then lead to him becoming now one of the leading researchers on community ecology and food webs (e.g. see here). Research in Kevin's lab focuses currently on understanding the structure and function of food webs, combining theory, lab and field-based approaches. A special focus is on aquatic systems (currently lakes and seagrass food webs), but his research branches out to work with soil, forest and desert food web ecologists.

Here, I will discuss variability and the structure of food webs. I will start by arguing that underneath nature's baroque complexity in food webs lies a gross repeatable structure (i.e., a fundamental food web module) that fosters stability through informed individual behavioural responses. With this argument, I then examine how and why this fundamental structure changes empirically in aquatic food webs across spatially and temporally changing conditions. 

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Biosciences Science Club Events 30 August 2017

Biosciences Science Club Series - Summer 2017
30 August 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (W129)

Merging phylogenetic- and trait-based approaches into Network Ecology 

Dr Vinicius Bastazini

Dr Vinicius Bastazini, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling at the Station d'Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale CNRS Centre in Moulis (France) will be visiting our department this coming week and has kindly agreed to give also a seminar - muito obrigado Vinicius! If you would like to also arrange a chat with Vinicius, please contact Dr John Griffin.

Understanding how species interact and how the topology of ecological networks influences the dynamics of populations and communities has been mind- boggling ecologists for over a century now. Despite this long tradition and the rapid increase in the number of studies of complex ecological networks in the past two decades, only recently have ecologists begun to move beyond the description of topological patterns of interaction networks and started to integrate other important biological data, such as functional traits and phylogenies in Network Ecology. 

Therefore, the aim of this talk is mainly two-fold: to introduce a new analytical approach capable to integrate functional and phylogenetic information in order to describe structural patterns in ecological networks, and to demonstrate the effects of eco- evolutionary dynamics on network resistance.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

Monday, 7 August 2017

Postgraduate Seminar Speakers 10th August 2017

S P E A K E R   1
Tackling the freshwater invasive species issues by using innovative molecular detection methods

Teja Muha

Environmental DNA (eDNA) barcoding and metabarcoding methods are currently the most promising techniques for an early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Limiting the impact and spread of AIS requires an appropriate management strategy, focused on effective early detection, evaluation of their dispersal potential and to measure the recolonization success after eradication. The main aim is to develop and optimize eDNA AIS and native species molecular detection techniques based on the combination of eDNA field studies and mesocosm experiments. The following research is based on native and non- native aquatic invertebrate and fish communities found in Welsh freshwater bodies. 

S P E A K E R   2
Root traits underpin resistance to erosion in salt marshes

Davide de Battisti

Vegetation of salt marshes plays a pivotal role in coastal protection, dampening wave energy through its canopy and binding the sediment through its roots, allowing the persistence of salt marshes through time and to deliver their highly important services. However, abiotic factors might affect root growth and resulting traits, decreasing or enhancing erosion resistance and ultimately influencing marsh resilience to environmental changes. This study investigated the effects of different environmental gradients on the expression of root traits in salt marshes and, in turn, how this affects the ability of vegetation to effectively resist erosion.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Postgraduate Seminar Speakers 3rd August 2017

S P E A K E R   1
How are inbreds successful?
Waldir M. Berbel-Filho 


Genetic diversity is considered a key factor to fitness and survival on ever-changing environments.  As a consequence, inbreeding is thought to be as an evolutionary dead end. However, several examples of inbred organisms (i.e. asexual/clonal lineages, invasive species, and bottlenecked populations) have been reported to successfully cope with a wide range of environmental pressures. If genetic diversity is a requirement to adaptability, how are inbreds successful?

S P E A K E R   2

Biogeography of protists with different forms of acquired phototrophy in the global oceans
Suzana G Leles
There is increasing awareness that many marine protists are mixotrophs, i.e., combine autotrophy and heterotrophy in a single cell. The most praised mixotrophs conform to ‘plants that eats’, but many others are ‘animals that photosynthesize’ through acquired phototrophy. Acquired phototrophy among protists takes place within a gradient from species with lower to species with higher control over the acquired machinery; therefore, differences in their distribution in time and space may be expected. A global analysis of marine protists with different forms of acquired phototrophy revealed that they are ubiquitous in the oceans, with different groups dominating in different regions. This study provides basis to validate future modelling studies addressing mixotrophy within pelagic marine food-webs.

S P E A K E R   3

Understanding the autecology of local Porphyra populations as a knowledge baseline for successful cultivation
Jessica Knoop